More Norfolk City Officials take the stand in case against City Treasurer

Posted at 9:44 AM, Nov 23, 2016

NORFOLK, Va. - The trial against Anthony Burfoot ended early Wednesday for the holiday weekend.

The judge sent the jurors home around 1:40 p.m.

Several defense witnesses took the stand including past and present city officials, an employee from the Treasurer's Office, along with a few lawyers.

So far, the defense has called 15 witnesses to the stand.

Defense Attorney Andrew Sacks said there are at least 25 more witnesses expected to take the stand.

Sacks has been asking all of the city employees on the stand if Burfoot had ever asked for special treatment when it came to Tivest, Dwight Ethridge, Ronnie Boone, or Tommy Arney.

All of the defense witnesses called to the stand so far have testified that they did not see Burfoot asking for special treatment.

Prosecutors rested their case against Burfoot on Tuesday.

Former Mayor Paul Fraim was the first witness to take the stand for the defense, followed by Angela Williams-Graves, Delegate Daun Hester and former Councilmen Andrew Protogyrou and Barclay Winn.

Under cross-examination, Winn told the jury he made a joke that Burfoot never pays for a drink on Granby Street.  He said he was friends with Burfoot.

Delegate Hester said she is friends with Burfoot and didn’t want to see him in trouble, but also testified that she would never lie on the stand to protect him. She said he never asked her for special treatment when it came to Boone, Etheridge, Arney or Tivest.

Prosecutors allege Burfoot had Ethridge pay $1,000 for a car loan, stayed at Ronnie Boone’s beach house, and had the group Tivest pay for $13,000 in appliances for Burfoot’s house.

Fraim testified, “of course” that information like that should have been disclosed under the current laws. However, he said he never saw any of the alleged activity and was never pressured to vote in support of Burfoot’s alleged business associates.

Burfoot is on trial for perjury and political corruption.

Federal prosecutors allege that he took bribes for years in exchange for his support and city council votes.

All three key witnesses are convicted felons.

The defense said the accusations are lies. “The case has a tremendous amount of weakness to it.  It has not been the overwhelming hammer that the indictment suggested initially that it would,” said Sacks.

Prosecutors alleged that a lot of the corruption was going on when Burfoot was a councilman and vice mayor.

Court is expected to start back up Monday morning at 10 a.m.